Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kindergarten: The Rookie Years

So you're going to start Kindergarten.  

Good for you, it's time to move on from all your creature comforts of home and join the 'real' world kid.  Gone are your days of Childcare or hanging out at home with your sibs and parents or caregiver... with all the things you KNOW and be thrown into this unknown world of school. (They're not fully gone silly...I'm just being dramatic for the sake of an article *wink*) You'll be alright.  Everyone seems to go to Kindergarten. 

What could go wrong?

I know, I know you're probably thinking your a little nervous, anxious...scared even...but you're also feeling excited, happy, ready for this...oh oh, but then your feeling a little sad (okay maybe a lot sad) too, but really stoked...happy, sad, scared, stoked, excited, anxious, nervous...jeesh... this is a lot.  

Guess what, soon to be Kindergartner, it's ALL normal, you're a human being, with a wide range of emotions, about to embark on a brand new adventure and it's super cool to feel all those may even feel all those things every 5 minutes.  Lean in kiddo...there is a good chance your parents are feeling all those things too about your rookie year.  Cut them some slack, they are human beings too with the same wide range of emotions as you...true story.

Lucking for you, I have had the privilege of working with kids your age for approx. 20 years AND I'm a Mom too, and my kids were your age once, they felt all those things about starting Kindergarten, so did I.  I've got your back.  Part of my job is to help you feel safe and secure so that you feel happy, healthy and ready to learn.  So if you are sad, that's okay, be sad...if you miss your Mom or Dad, that's okay too, miss them, if you're excited and feeling wild, that's okay too, be excited and wild...I'm here for you.  I want nothing but the best for you and to help you feel good about starting Kindergarten.  In fact the whole Kindergarten team wants that for you and your parents.

I've made a little list of things you might find helpful to do this summer to make your first month of Kindergarten a little smoother.

*  Practice using your lunch bag and containers for a few lunches.  Sometimes those zippers and locking containers are a challenge for little hands. Plus, it's really helpful for Mom to see how well you can open and shut and put away your lunch kit.  (not going to's major helpful for us too with so many little ones having lunch at the same time)

*  Buy your Mom a Sharpie Marker or order some Mabels Labels and get her to LABEL EVERYTHING.  I'm not even kidding on this one...LABEL, LABEL, LABEL...EVERYTHING.  So annoying (yet so true) please for love of labelling, LABEL.  We will have approx. 130 Kindergartners at our school...with roughly the same size clothing, styles of backpacks, lunch kits, containers, freezer packs, Minion toy, get the picture.  Label.  Okay I'm done now.

*  Practice putting your new Indoor shoes and Outdoor shoes on...over and over again.  All by yourself.  Practice will help you feel confident that you know what shoes are yours and that you can try.  It's okay if they are still tough to get on when school starts...we'll help you.  Shoes that slip-on or Velcro or have easy curly laces work best for the beginning of the school year.  Oh, and I have to say it...please label both shoes.

*  Definitely pack a couple spare changes of clothes... including socks and underwear...accidents happen to the best of us AND learning can be messy sometimes...I personally find some of my best learning is when I get the messiest.  Just saying.

*  Lunches:  Litter less lunches are best, that means lunches with little to no garbage.  Choosing whole foods for your lunches will give you the energy and nutrition you need for a full day of learning.  Make a list of foods you love with your Mom and I bet she will pack them.  It's pretty normal for you to not feel too hungry the first month or so of school...I bet if you are one of those people you will chow it down as soon as you get home.  Just with everything in Kindergarten, eating your lunch is another adjustment period.  (snacks high in sugars, preservatives and dyes should be avoided to help your tummy and brain feel good).  

*  Backpacks are a huge right of passage for Kindergarteners.  First of all they make you look super cool.  Second they hold all your cool stuff....third...well I guess that it.  Just make sure they are big enough to hold your mailbag and lunchkit and easy enough for you to pack them in it.  If your bag is too small it gets pretty frustrating at the end of the day to fit it all in.  You can also carry your special stuffie or blanket in there to for a nice snuggle visit to get you through those first few weeks. 

Finally, here is a list of my personal favorite resources for exceptional products that I use for my family.

Mabels Labels
Laptop Lunches

Each of the Lunchkits websites have awesome lunch tips too. 

My personal favourite for lunch inspiration is Pinterest (and I don't mean the pins showing you how to make every lunch an Art masterpiece.) Just good wholesome food combos, packed and ready to eat.

**On a side note, I use the word 'Mom' throughout this post, but I also mean, Dad, Grandparents, Caregiver, friend...basically any awesome person that takes care of you.**

Hope you find this helpful and I can't wait for you to start Kindergarten,

Marcia (aka Mrs.Spencer)

Registered Early Childhood Educator 
Kundalini Yoga Teacher (200h Oct. 2015)
magiCALMess Parenting Writer

Monday, August 10, 2015

Carefree NOT Careless

You've seen them around town...

groups (or even on their own) tweens and teens ...
riding bikes, skateboards, scooters, walking, running, laughing, looking at their smart phones...connecting, talking, yelling, hoot and hollering, dare I say it a little obnoxious at times.

Now I dare you to think back to when you were that age.
Got it pictured?
Think back to a moment when you were truly wild and carefree...what that felt like...who you were with...
Wasn't it wonderful?  


We parents are met with a constant barrage of disapproval if we 'let' our tween/teens roam the town (Free Range Parenting) to 'hang out' with and 'meet up' with friends...we are also met with equal disapproval if we don't...we "shelter them too much", "helicopter over them", "let the kids be and have some freedom like in the 'old day (1980's and under)".  (Every child is different (obvie) your child will be ready when they are ready, you'll instinctively know when that is.)

Here is my recent observations.  

These are our kids, they (mostly) come from good homes, with parents and families who love them very much, who HAVE taught and are still teaching right from wrong.  However, we cannot be with them at all times, so please keep in mind when you see our children out and about they are being carefree, testing out what they have learnt, getting used to their new bodies and minds (remember puberty? yay...that was a bit of a trip), they are not trying to get in your way or annoy you, they are probably just so focused on landing a 'bunny hop' off the sidewalk with their skateboard.  They are not trying to get hit by a car while riding their bike, they are just coming off the sidewalk on to the road, or being a goof to make their friends laugh.  

Part of our collective job as a community (and as drivers) is to also watch out for all children while they navigate their freedom through our town and essentially through life.

When you see a group of our kids...running amok, wild in the streets, take a conscious minute to enjoy that scene of pure freedom and fun, of unadulterated carefree living at it's best.  

This magiCALMess Parenting moment is brought to you by me:

Have a clever&lovely day 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Letting Go - Flying High

I am in a constant state of wonder and curious about everything.  My brain hurts.  My eyeballs ache from looking up…to the side…and the other…down.  Trying to figure out perhaps even accept…yes accept would be the miracle…as to how my mission to motherhood and to myself turned so wonky, stressful…not fun…sad even.

My oldest child is in his final year of childhood.  Twelve.  I have been a mother for twelve years. I have been a mother in mild to medium to full blast crisis mode from the time my son was three.  

From the moment he was born he was pure perfection, a bonnie baby in every sense of the world, fed well, fattened up in all the right places, hearty laugh, slept great, loved his snuggles, his people and especially his folks.  We felt the truest of loves, wild, reckless and no end.  And all this loveliness repeated two years later when the most beautiful of souls came earth side to be part of our family, our daughter was born.  My dreams came true.  We were blessed.  We felt it.  We knew it.  Smug parenting settled in…we rocked the early years.  I declared myself a ‘baby person’, and loved guiding my husband through this uncharted territory.  I loved watching my husband become a natural at parenting, a natural at supporting me and cheering me on.  

There is no way ever I could have imagined how our lives would be so transformed.

Lets go back a little.  Say my late teen to all of my twenties.  On some level I was always day dreaming about having a baby, what my children would look and be like.  I wondered what their  interests would be.  I couldn't wait to ‘dress them’ and decorate their rooms and make beautiful meals for them and read them all the books I love.  For over 10 years I had invented the worlds most well rounded, smart, beautiful, fashion forward, creative, kind, loved by all, delightfully friendly children.  They would be mine al mine mwahahaha.

Lesson.  Children are not possessions.  Period.  They are not ours to project our needs and wants on to.  They are beautiful free souls gifted to us to guide them on their earth side journey.  The sooner you realize this the more free your soul becomes.  No joke.  Please realize this sooner than later. Trust me you want to. It’s finally happening to me.  Each person that has been ‘called’ to mother or father a child is given the most unique and treasured opportunity to free a soul.  We are all gifted children to learn lessons about ourselves, our beliefs, to challenge us, to help our souls, to figure out our purpose, to love like no other and to be loved like no other and in our case…to be the safe place for our children to fall…period…without judgement, hate or ridicule.  Our hearts remain wide open and our arms outstretched to draw them back…always.

We were gifted a child, who is so sensitive, angry, feels he needs to prove him self and be this bravado tough guy, who can dish it but not always take it, sometimes feels life would be better without him in it, thinks everyone is against him, has learning disabilities on top of ADHD.  Hate the label but it is what it is.  A child who seems to have grown at warp speed, and who is wise beyond his years but innocent to the core.  A child who stands out in a crowd with his tall, slim, muscular body, handsome face and his two different colour eyes.  He just stands out.  He seems to be at war with himself at all times then it translates to a war between him and I. 

Him and I.  
I made space in my body, 
and soul 
for him.  
His heart beat inside me.  ME. 
His body passed through mine. Mine.  
My body fed his body.  My.  
I did that. 

I honestly do not know any other life changing, soul exploding force to take place.   
I know his true self better than anyone.  
The real boy is.  Hilarious, self assured, creative, forward thinking, passionate, loving….so loving….physically gifted, thoughtful, helpful, curious, compassionate and kind.  So kind. (these are the labels I can get behind) I am hopeful he will know this to be true.  Otherwise I do not know how my husband and I have gotten through the last 10 years and more recently the last 4 months. 

Here is the tough part.  Wanting to share, write, reflect, support and de-stigmatize tough times in parenting/mental health issues and needing to protect and honour all who are involved.  (even though I have talked with my family about sharing and getting the okay from all) It still feels so very raw and so very exposed.  

But in my core, 
my hearts desire, 
I wish to envelope parents and loved ones who are going through;
soul shattering times, 
lonely times,
feelings of failure,
and defeat,
utter rejection,
grieving for your shattered expectations
and pure heart break.

I want to give hope.
The soul shattering turned to radiant souls emerging.
Lonely times turned to peace,
Feelings of failure turned to beautiful realizations,
Defeat turned to celebrations of mini triumphs
Sorrow turned to hope,
Anger turned to patience,
Utter rejection turned to an expression
Embarrassment turned to not giving a fuck what others thought,
Expectations turned to THE GIFT of Letting Go
and heart break turned to my hearts full, my hearts work, a new heart. 

My parenting journey will never be perfect.  Nor will yours….sorry…it won’t. Mine shifted when I finally shifted and started to do my life work of “being Me”…its an ongoing project of learning about myself, letting me be me, ‘owning my own shit’ (copywrite Kayli - Art Therapist), learning lesson after lesson until it sinks in.  

Honestly, the biggest and most juiciest of lessons is really, really, really simple yet often very hard to do….ready for it?  Allowing your children to be who they are.  And, while your at it...afford yourself that same luxury too. There is no earth shattering philosophy it truly is that simple.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Revelations in Parenting

Parenting is messy.  Not just physically and around the house but it just really can mess with your mind.  All your past thoughts on parenting, who you thought you were, how you were raised, and your beliefs about your upbringing, and of course the MASSIVE amount of information hurled at us every stinking day through social media, gets carried on through you, to the present.  Subsequently drives you further away from being present, trusting your instincts, like really really listening to your heart in regards to parenting.  

For me, studying Early Childhood Education adds another element to the messiness.  While I have this intellectual information about Child Development and the expertise and  experience of sharing, teaching, observing, facilitating and living my life with this connection, I still fall down the messy sinkhole of parenting my own two.

Parenting (sometimes) has been such a huge challenge for me, nothing at all how I expected it to be…the good the bad and the ugly side…all…nothing how I imagined. 

And my thought patterns have been very unkind and unforgiving for most of my parenting life.  

I’ll preface this first with;  I need you to know I recognize and see all the true beauty from my children.  Love, admire and would go to the ends of the earth for them….

However… with some families (I trust…no…just me?) there are some really shit, challenging, soul crushing events, times, fleeting moments with the children that quite frankly have made me want to ‘fly the coop’ and never come back.  Of coarse that does not happen, if only in my mind, but that’s my feeling. 

Back to the thought patterns.

As an example, my son who sometimes has trouble regulating his feelings and emotions (all part of his triple ADHD/Anxiety/LD diagnosis) can say, do and be extremely hurtful and destructive …in the moment.  Often times they are directed at me.  For years I would react to everything he said, and did…mirroring sometimes his behaviour…because I was so appalled and hurt, embraced and ashamed….and made it about him ‘attacking me’, which of course only prolonged the episode…prolonged the hurt and prolonged us from getting to the root of his outburst and  the truth behind his emotions.
My thoughts during and after an ‘episode’ would be:
“I am such a failure at parenting.”
“Parenting is too hard”
“I am not good at being a mom”
“How am I so bad at this”
“My son must really hate me”
“Nothing I do is right”
Honestly the list is long, sad and has been on repeat for far too long. 

ANYWAY. sigh. Good news:
My most recent, and most amazing revelation about parenting came to light shortly after my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training began in January 2015.  The first 40 hours of class is The Soul of The Teacher training…what that means is we need to get real about our shit…acknowledge, deal and work through it so we can be present for when our students are in practice.

So through one of these kriyas my thoughts popped up like a 3D movie: 
“You are sooooo wrong about yourself as a parent.  You are a great parent.  Your children will NEVER be able to say:
“ My Mom was never there for me.”
“ I  never really knew if my mom loved me” 
“ My mom never hugged or kissed me”
“ My mom never supported me”
“ My mom doesn’t get me” 
“ My mom didn’t try” 
“ My Mom never relished in our uniqueness” 
“ My mom was never proud of us” 
“ My mom didn’t get help for me” 
“ My mom didn’t care about our health and nutrition”.  

Never ever ever in the history of history will MY kids be able to say ANY of those things.  
And wow oh wow did I ever feel the biggest sense of release and relief after hearing this amazing truth and finally gave myself permission to let that shit go.  My vibes were so high after this revelation I felt as though I was walking around like a peacock with the brightest plumage.

Shortly after this revelation I got to test out my new beliefs…because as you know….some fires never fully go out…a ‘big emotions event’ took place….I was able to ‘be there’ for him, while he felt his feelings….recognized it has nothing to do with me….wait for the fire to simmer….then put it out with time, patience, understanding and acceptance.   And I have since afforded myself the luxury of those same gifts…time, patience, understanding and acceptance.

Being the CALM one magiCALMess at a time

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Start at the Beginning

I have been inconstantly blogging on clever&Lovely since 2009.  I started writing it, right in the middle of the downward spiral of my businesses, rolz&sassy, my Canadian Made fabric baby wearing company (2006-2010) and my brick and mortar baby boutique (2008-2010) of the same name.
I started both of my businesses on pure passion, drive, love and I saw a niche market.  I expanded too quickly and was super naive to the art of running a business and felt very alone.  I was running my businesses on pure fear and subsequently sabotaging the businesses and living a fear based life, that sadly trickled into a full time job itself.  To say it was awful is a gross understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of heart and soul based moments throughout that time, but was exhausting with the undertone of fear.  (I will one day write a post about my rolz&sassy business and the beauty of the lessons learned)

However and furthermore (both said with a British accent) my clever&Lovely life is taking a long and jagged right turn to Easy Street!  Not really “Easy Street” per say. (if just really fit that sentence).
More like a nicer, calmer, kinder, heart centred Street.  I have been practicing meditation since January 2014, and have been a wayward practitioner of Yoga since 2000.   

My life is becoming more clever&Lovely since beginning my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in January 2015.  At the tender age of forty-one, I am doing the work to heal myself from myself, breaking open, breaking loose, breaking free from my old self and my soul shattering thought patterns.  Moving my body through Kriyas and listening to the story that is unfolding through the movements and starting to live my life in the most Lovely way possible…as Myself.  A Kinder, gentler, heart focused, love centred ME.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nuns Farts and Rhubarb

It's Sunday morning, my house smells like mine did when I was growing up.  Like fresh baked pies.  It smells glorious.  I am wrapped in nostalgia this morning.  How lucky we were to grow up in a home where fresh baked goods were the normal, everyday occurrence.  I remember being surprised when other kids never had a homemade butter tart in the their lunch.  How spoiled.  I was spoiled in love, attention, slow food and baking.  Spoiled in obtaining recipes handed down from generation to generation.  I am trying in earnest to give these simple, profound, memories of love, smells, sights to my kids, that one day when they are parents remember and think of me and inevitably their hearts warm and they too have this same nostalgic moment. Le sigh...I am a sentimental gal, I can't help it.

So, I was gifted a large amount of rhubarb this past week, this morning I baked 3 rhubarb cream pies, one of my moms best recipes.  And always my Birthday request instead of a cake.

The Pie Lady

Rhubarb Cream Pie

2 Eggs (Beat really really well)
Then add: 1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Flour
Beat Well

Then add: 3 Cups of diced Rhubarb
Mix thoroughly 
Pour into unbaked pie shell, cover top with pastry

Bake at 400 for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Enjoy warm or my favourite the next day cold from the fridge.

Now on to the NUNS FARTS
I believe this 'recipe' originates from my Auntie Judy's side of the family, so credits to name and baked good goes to her. 

You take the left over dregs of pastry roll it out.  
Spread butter all over the pastry
Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar
roll it up
slice it
bake it 
Enjoy the warm "cookie" type pastry.


Have a lovely day, slow down, take it in the little things, enjoy the smell and taste of a Nuns Fart.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The King of Green - Lawn-Boy

Every spring for as long as I've been alive my Dad has a sacred ritual of starting his Lawn-Boy.  
Step 1.  Roll it out of shed
Step 2. Quick wipe down
Step 3. Push gas button
Step 4. Pull the cord. Wait. Starts!
Every year, one after the other it starts after the first or second start.  
Without fail his lime and kelly green Lawn-Boy fires into action and another season of lawn maintenance takes place.  
You may be thinking "Well, duh, isn't that what a lawn mower should do?" 
And to that I say "Well, Yes young chap." 
But what makes this so extraordinary is that my Dad's Lawn-Boy has just turned 40!!!
That's right the old boy is 40 this spring.  
The only thing my Dad has had to replace is his belt about 15 years ago.  
What a piece of machinery, Lawn-Boy sure knocks it out of the park on superior design and reliability.  
Not sure how Lawn-Boy measures up today as we've never had to purchase another lawn mower.

Here's to another 40 years, eh Dad?

Lawn-Boy gets my Clever&Lovely stamp of approval.